Fried Rice

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Joined May 16, 2003
Dear Friends:

I'm reading a recipe for fried rice which states that perfect fried rice requires that the rice be cold. They recommend making the rice ahead of time so it can completely cool. Asian dishes are not my specialty. Can someone tell me why the rice needs to be cold?

Thanks,
Mark
 
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I think it has to do with temperature differential and being able to get a nice patina on the surface of the rice. I think the same thing applies to french fries. If you keep them in the freezer before putting them into the deep fryer, they get crispier (patina) on the outside and stay moister on the inside.
 

phatch

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Chilling the rice does a couple of things.

Depending how you chill the rice, you can let a lot of steam out of the rice so its drier. This prevents soggy rice and it cooks up better. If you spread the rice out on a rimmed baking sheet, it cools quickly, 30-45 minutes.

It lets the rice starch set up . Otherwise it sticks and breaks up easily ruining the texture and appearance of the dish.

Phil
 
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Mark, this may sound a little silly, but seriously. Experience is the best teacher, so try it yourself. Make a batch of fried rice using freshly made rice. and make a batch using cooled rice from the day before. You will undoubtedly understand completely the reasons.
Enjoy!
 
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Well, yeah, chrose, not that what you suggest is wrong, but will he learn the WHY that way? Phatch has it right, and when he says he saves MarkV and everyone else the heartbreak of sticky icky fried rice ;)

Not everyone learns how to get from point A to point B by reinventing the wheel :D
 

kuan

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And... no real Chinese would let good fresh rice hit the wok. Fried rice is a leftover dish. :)
 
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In my own defense (not that I really need any, :) however... Phatch, as you said, did a good job of explaining the "why". Armed with that knowledge an experimentation as I suggested would really drive home the knowledge in perhaps a more tangible way. Now if my answer was the first one, then yes I would be doing MarkV a disservice.
 
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There's nothing wrong with experimentation but yes, I was more interested in the "why", i.e. the science. I assumed it had something to do with the starch but wasn't sure.

Thanks again everyone.

Mark
 

kuan

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Good guess! It has everything to do with the starch since rice is almost 100% starch :)

Maybe we should have a food science forum here.
 
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I have to agree. You're over thinking it. Freshly made rice should be enjoyed for being light, fluffy, and tender. The leftover rice is usually not eaten the same night so it dries out which makes it perfect for fried rice.
 
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I would LOVE a food science forum. I tend to remember a technique or procedure when I understand why it is done. And if I understand the science rather than just a step in a recipe, I can use the information to be more effective when I'm "creating" or trying to repair a mistake. This is the biggest difference between experts and novices.

The science of cooking crops up regularly in many of the different Fora as it is. There is a lot of expertise among the users of the Forum. There are also sometimes differing opinions, which is fine, too. But it would be very exciting to have someone like Alton Brown who kind of specializes in the science.

Great idea Kuan!

Lynne
 
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